South Sydney Rabbitohs

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South Sydney Rabbitohs
South Sydney Rabbitohs logo.png
Club information
Full name South Sydney Rabbitohs Rugby League Club Pty Ltd
Nickname(s) Souths, The Bunnies, The Rabbits, The Pride of the League[1][2]
Website rabbitohs.com.au
Colours      Cardinal Red
     Myrtle Green
Founded 17 January 1908; 106 years ago (1908-01-17)
Current details
Ground(s)
CEO(s) Shane Richardson
Chairman Nick Pappas
Coach(s) Michael Maguire
Captain(s) John Sutton
Competition National Rugby League
2014 season 3rd (Premiers)
Away jersey
Away colours
Records
Premierships 21 (1908, 1909, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 2014)
Runners-up 13 (1910, 1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1949, 1952, 1965, 1969)
Minor premiership 17 (1908, 1909, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929, 1932, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1989)
Wooden spoons 8 (1945, 1946, 1962, 1975, 1990, 2003, 2004, 2006)
Most capped 227 (+) - John Sutton
Arthur Hennessy, South Sydney's first captain and coach.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs (often shortened to Souths) is a professional Australian rugby league football team based in Redfern, a suburb of south-central Sydney, New South Wales.[3] They participate in the National Rugby League (NRL) premiership and are one of nine existing teams from the state capital and are the current champions. The club was formed in 1908 as one of the founding members of the New South Wales Rugby Football League, making them one of Australia's oldest rugby league teams. They are one of only two foundation clubs still present in the NRL, the other being the Sydney Roosters.[4] The South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club is currently a subsidiary company 75% owned by Blackcourt League Investments which is, in turn, 50% owned by the actor Russell Crowe and 50% owned by James Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings; the other 25% is owned by the financial Members of the club.[5]

The Rabbitohs' traditional heartland covers the once typically working-class suburbs of inner-south and south-eastern Sydney, however they have long held a wide supporter base spread all over New South Wales. The team's home ground is currently Stadium Australia in Sydney Olympic Park. In the New South Wales Rugby League (1908–1994), Australian Rugby League (1995–1997), and National Rugby League (1998-1999, 2002–present) competitions South Sydney are the most successful professional team in the history of Australian rugby league in terms of total championships won, having claimed 21 first grade premierships. The modern South Sydney Rabbitohs are no longer the traditional 'South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club' established in the South Sydney district in 1908. This club was wound up after privatisation in 2006 and new the Olympic Park-based football club operating under the 'South Sydney' brand is 75% owned by a private company, BlackCourt League Investments Ltd. The subsidiary company running the football team is now known as the South Sydney Rabbitohs Rugby League Club Pty Ltd.

History[edit]

For more details on this topic, see History of the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club was formed at a meeting on 17 January 1908 at Redfern Town Hall[6] when administrator J J Giltinan, cricketer Victor Trumper and politician Henry Clement Hoyle came together in front of a large crowd of supporters.[7] The club played in the first round of the newly formed New South Wales Rugby League, defeating North Sydney 11–7 at Birchgrove Oval on 20 April 1908.[7][8] The team went on to win the inaugural premiership then successfully defended their title in the 1909 season, winning the Grand Final by default.[9] During these early years Arthur Hennessy was considered the "founding father" of the South Sydney rugby league club. A hooker and prop forward, Hennessy was Souths' first captain and coach. He was also New South Wales' first captain and Australia's first test captain in 1908. S. G. "George" Ball baceme Club Secreatry in 1911 after Arthur Hennessy stood down from the position, and he remained in that capacity for over fifty years, only retiring a few years before his death in 1969.

After further premiership success in 1914 and 1918, South Sydney won seven of the eight premierships from 19251932, only missing out in 1930. The 1925 side went through the season undefeated[10] and is only one of six Australian premiership sides in history to have achieved this feat. Such was Souths dominance in the early years of the rugby league competition that the Rabbitohs were labelled "The Pride of the League".[6][11]

South Sydney struggled through most of the 1940s, only making the semifinals on two occasions (1944 and 1949). South Sydney's longest losing streak of 22 games was during the period 1945–1947. In the 1945 season they only managed to win one game while in 1946 they were unable to win a single game.

In the 1950s South Sydney again had great success, winning five of the six premierships from 19501955, and losing the 1952 Grand Final against Western Suburbs in controversial circumstances. The 1951 side's point scoring feat in their 42–14 victory over Manly-Warringah[12] remains the highest score by a team in a Grand Final and "the miracle of '55"[13][14] involved South Sydney winning 11 straight sudden death matches to win the premiership. Players that were involved in these years included Denis Donoghue, Jack Rayner, Les "Chicka" Cowie, Johnny Graves, Ian Moir, Greg Hawick, Ernie Hammerton, Bernie Purcell and Clive Churchill. Churchill, nicknamed "the Little Master" for his brilliant attacking fullback play, is universally regarded as one of the greatest ever Australian rugby league players.

In the late 1950s Souths began a poor run of form failing to make the finals from 19581964. However in 1965 a talented young side made the Grand Final against St. George who were aiming to secure their 10th straight premiership. The young Rabbitohs weren't overawed by the Dragons formidable experience and in front of a record crowd of 78,056[15] at the Sydney Cricket Ground, they went down narrowly 12–8.[16] The nucleus of this side went on to feature in Australian representative teams for the next six years and ensured another golden period for South Sydney making five successive grand finals from 19671971, winning four. Bob McCarthy, John O'Neill, Eric Simms, Ron Coote, Mike Cleary and John Sattler from 1965 were later joined by Elwyn Walters, Ray Branighan, Paul Sait, Gary Stevens and coach Clive Churchill to form a fearsome combination before internal strife and poaching by other clubs from 1972 onwards unravelled the star studded pack.[17] From this period comes part of South's and Australian Rugby League folklore when in the 1970 premiership decider against Manly, captain John Sattler inspired the side to victory playing out 70 minutes of the match with his jaw broken[18] in three places after being king hit by Manly prop John Bucknall.[19][20]

Financial problems started to hit Souths in the early 1970s, forcing some players to go to other clubs. The licensed Leagues Club, traditionally such an important revenue provider to all first grade league sides, was closed in 1973 but a "Save Our Souths" campaign ensured the club survived. "Super Coach" Jack Gibson's[21] arrival turned the club's form, winning the pre-season competition in 1978.[7] The club captured victories in the mid-week Tooth Cup competition in 1981[22] and in the pre-season "Sevens" competition in 1988.[7] The Rabbitohs were able to make the finals on five occasions in the 1980s, including a dominant season to finish as minor premiers in 1989.[7] The 1989 season proved to be the club's most successful in years, but also marked the last time the club was able to reach the finals until 2007. The following season the Rabbitohs finished as wooden spooners.

The club stayed afloat in the 1990s despite major financial problems. Souths' only success came in 1994 when they won the pre-season competition, defeating the Brisbane Broncos 27–26 in the final.[7] The Super League War and the eventual formation of the National Rugby League affected the club greatly when it was determined in 1998 that the newly formed competition would be contracted to 14 teams for the 2000 season. Following a series of mergers by other teams,[23] South Sydney failed to meet the National Rugby League's selection criteria to compete in the competition and were subsequently excluded from the premiership at the end of the 1999 season.

South Sydney Rabbitohs football club owner, actor Russell Crowe.

In 2000 and 2001, South Sydney fought their way back into the competition following a string of high profile legal battles[24] against the National Rugby League and News Limited.[25] A number of well attended public rallies took place during this time, as supporters from many different clubs got behind South Sydney's case. Upon appeal to the Federal Court in 2001,[26] South Sydney won readmission into the premiership for the 2002 season.[27]

After being readmitted, the Rabbitohs were initially unsuccessful in the premiership, finishing amongst the bottom three teams for five seasons straight including three wooden spoons. However, following the club's takeover by actor Russell Crowe and businessman Peter Holmes à Court in 2006,[28] the club has had great success in securing a number of major national and international player signings such as the four Burgess Brothers and Greg Inglis. The club was also successful in recruiting several key managerial positions including Jason Taylor as head coach in 2007 and more recently Michael Maguire in 2012.

South Sydney was a party to one of many dubious sponsorship deals promoted by the fraudulent company Firepower International.[29]

South Sydney won their first three games of the 2007 season (marking their best start to a season since 1972) and being competitive in every game. On the back of one of the best defences in the competition, the Rabbitohs finished strongly making the semi-finals for the first time since 1989. They finished the season in 7th position, going down to Manly in the playoffs.

On 26 January 2008, the Rabbitohs lost 24–26 to the Leeds Rhinos in front of 12,000 fans at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, the first time first-grade professional rugby league teams from Australia and England have played each other in the United States.

May 2008 saw the sudden resignation of the then current Executive chairman and CEO, Peter Holmes à Court. He had been appointed to the role of CEO at the start of 2008.[30][31] Reports suggested that Holmes à Court had been forced to stand down after his relationship with Russell Crowe had deteriorated beyond repair.[32][33][34][35][36]

The South Sydney Rabbitohs celebrated their centenary year during the 2008 National Rugby League season. That year they were named the National Trust's inaugural 'Community Icon', in recognition of the club's significant longstanding contribution to sport and sporting culture at both state and national levels.[37] In April 2012 the South Sydney Rabbitohs became the second club to record 1000 wins in First Grade.[38] That same year the Rabbitohs finished third at the end of the regular season, qualifying for the finals for the first time since 2007 and just the second time since 1989.[39]

The South Sydney Rabbitohs finished third at the end of the regular season in 2014. They went on to win the Grand Final against the Canterbury Bulldogs 30-6 to claim their first premiership in 43 years, with Sam Burgess claiming the Clive Churchill Medal, South Sydney's first Clive Churchill Medallist in 43 years (taking into account the retrospective Clive Churchill medal awarded to Ron Coote in 1971). On Thursday 9 October 2014, the Rabbitohs were presented with the Keys to the City of Randwick by Mayor Ted Seng at a presentation ceremony at Souths Juniors in Kingsford and later the same day awarded the Keys to the City of Sydney by Lord Mayor Clover Moore at a reception at Sydney Town Hall.

On 23 October 2014, Holmes à Court sold his 50% share of Blackcourt League Investments, and consequently his 50% stake in South Sydney, to James Packer's ScrumPac Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings.[5]

Emblem[edit]

The club mascot is the rabbitoh, a now-disused term that was commonly used in the early twentieth century to describe hawkers who captured and skinned rabbits and then sold the meat at markets,[40] so named because they would shout "rabbit-oh!" around the markets to attract buyers. The club is also informally referred to as the Rabbits, Bunnies or Souths.

Exactly how South Sydney came to be known as the rabbitohs is unknown. According to one version of events, dating from pre-schism days at the turn of the 20th century, some of the club's players earned some extra money on Saturday mornings as rabbit-oh men, staining their jerseys with rabbit blood in the process; when they played in those blood stained jumpers that afternoon, opponents from wealthier rugby clubs did not always appreciate the aroma and would mockingly repeat the "Rabbitoh!" cry.[41] Another version was that the term was a disparaging reference by opposing teams to South's home ground being plagued with "rabbit 'oles"; in those early days Redfern Oval was then known as Nathan's Cow Paddock.[6] A third version claims the Rabbitoh name was adopted from that of the touring Australian rugby union teams of the early 1900s who were nicknamed "Rabbits" prior to discarding the name in 1908 in favour of the moniker "Wallabies".[42]

The "Rabbitoh" emblem, a running white rabbit, first appeared on the team's jersey in 1959. The Rabbitoh emblem has in various forms been carried as the club's crest on every player's jersey ever since. The original "Rabbitoh" emblem design that appeared on the team's jerseys throughout the 1960s and 1970s has now been incorporated on the current jersey.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs celebrated their centenary year during 2008. The club released a centenary emblem to commemorate the occasion. To also coincide with the centenary year, Souths opted to alter their logo by removing the red and green oval from their emblem for a solid white rabbit with the words South Sydney Rabbitohs in upper case font.

Colours[edit]

South Sydney has used cardinal red and myrtle green colours on its playing jerseys for the vast majority of the club's history. Prior to the establishment of the rugby league club in 1908, the South Sydney rugby union team originally wore a red and green hooped jersey. Some sources have suggested that this combination of colours was due to the local rugby union club being nicknamed the "Redfern Waratahs". The first British inhabitants had often called the waratah a "red fern" instead, hence giving the suburb its name, and ultimately the local rugby club its emblem. Red and green dominate the colours of the waratah and hence, possibly, the South Sydney Rugby League Football Club adopted these colours for their jerseys.[42] However, the suburb of Redfern was named in honour of Dr. William Redfern, one of the first doctors of the colony, who treated convicts and poor settlers as well as the wealthy.

The club's jersey has been a hooped-styled one comprising alternating red and green, and has been used for the vast majority of the club's history.[43] In 1945 and 1946 the club broke with this tradition and used a green design with a red "V" around the collar, before reverting to the original hoop style. From 1980 to 1984 the team played in a strip which saw the inclusion of white hoops within a predominately green design with a central red stripe and was affectionately known as the "Minties"[44] jersey (so-called due to its apparent similarity to the wrapper design of the popular sweet). With the introduction of "away" jerseys towards the end of the 20th century, the club initially introduced a predominantly white jersey for away matches which was changed to a predominantly black one for the 2006 season.

Before the start of the 2007 season, the club announced that the away jersey would be styled identically to the traditional home jersey, with the exception of sponsorship and the rabbit emblem, which has been styled similarly to the one that initially featured on jerseys in the 1960s.[45] For season 2009, the rabbit emblem is black for home matches whilst the emblem is the original white for away matches.[46]

The playing shorts worn were historically black, though in the late 1970s the club adopted green shorts with a red vertical stripe. This was then superseded by the white shorts of the "Minties" outfit. When the club subsequently reverted to their traditional playing strip, the decision was made to wear black shorts once more. In 2008 the Rabbitohs wore white shorts to match the white stripe running down the side of their jersey.

Stadium[edit]

During the early years of the New South Wales Rugby League premiership, "home games" were not assigned very often. However, South Sydney played most of their games at the Royal Agricultural Society Ground (Sydney Showground) from 1908 until the club's departure in 1920. From 1911 onwards, the Sydney Sports Ground was also used interchangeably with the Agricultural Ground over a decade for hosting matches.[47] In 1947 the club played its final season at the Sports Ground, before relocating to Redfern Oval in 1948.[48] It was here that team played in the heart of the club's territory and played the vast majority of its allocated home matches.

ANZ Stadium, the Rabbitohs current home ground.

In 1988, the club began to play in the Sydney Football Stadium,[49] just built upon the former Sydney Sports Ground and Sydney Cricket Ground No. 2 Oval. The side continued to play here up until 2005, with the exception of 2000 and 2001 when South Sydney was absent from the premiership. During 2004–2005, when the Rabbitohs contract with Sydney Football Stadium was about to expire, new home grounds were investigated at Gosford, North Sydney Oval and Telstra Stadium (now ANZ Stadium). Eventually the decision was made to relocate to Telstra Stadium at Homebush. The move was not well received by some of the fans,[50][51] but provided more money for the club that was several million dollars in the red at the end of 2005.[52]

Redfern Oval, Rabbitohs vs Wests Tigers pre-season trial game, 8 February 2009.

In 2006 the club relocated home games to ANZ Stadium in Sydney's west (known as Telstra Stadium until the conclusion of 2007). In February 2008, the Rabbitohs renewed their partnership with ANZ Stadium to play NRL home games and home finals at the venue for the next 10 years, commencing season 2008. The agreement runs until the end of 2017, superseding the inaugural three-year home ground arrangement at ANZ Stadium that started in 2006. During 2008 the City of Sydney Council[53] completed a $19.5 million upgrade and renovation of Redfern Oval. From season 2009, the upgraded Redfern Oval will provide the Rabbitohs with training facilities and a venue for hosting pre-season and exhibition matches.[53]

Supporters[edit]

The South Sydney Rabbitohs continue to have a large supporter base in their traditional areas of South-eastern Sydney, despite having moved from Redfern Oval two decades ago, whilst also enjoying wide support throughout other rugby league playing centres around the country.[54] The official South Sydney supporter group is known as "The Burrow."[55] While their active supporter group is known as "Gate38" which is made up of young men who were involved in the "scumgate" scandal in 2013.[56]

As at March 2010,[57] the Rabbitohs had the highest football club membership in the National Rugby League, with total membership exceeding 17,500. The total member number also includes more than 11,000 ticketed members to date, the highest of the Sydney-based NRL Clubs. It was announced during the 2010 Charity Shield game that both St George Illawarra and Souths had exceeded the 10,000 milestone, making the 2010 season the first time two Sydney clubs have entered the season with 10,000 ticketed members each. The club has members from every state in Australia and international members located in 22 countries. Football club membership had peaked at some 22,000 when the club was readmitted to the National Rugby League for season 2002.[58]

"Group 14", a collection of the club's backers which comprise an influential collection of businessmen, politicians and media personalities, was formed before the Rabbitohs' exclusion from the NRL in 1999.[59] Members included Andrew Denton, Anthony Albanese, Deirdre Grusovin, Mike Whitney, Laurie Brereton, Mikey Robins, Ron Hoenig, Nick Greiner, Ray Martin and former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally.[60][61] They contributed to South Sydney's bid for reinstatement, following the club's exclusion from the competition at the end of the 1999 season. A sustained campaign of public support that year, unprecedented in Australian sporting history, saw 40,000 people[62] attended a rally in the Sydney CBD in support of South Sydney's cause.[63][64] In 2000 and 2001, public street marches took place in Sydney with in excess of 80,000 people rallying behind the Rabbitohs.[27] The club also has a number of high-profile supporters as well, many of whom were dominant figures in their battle to be readmitted into the premiership in 2000 and 2001.[65][66] In 2007 supporters set a new club record for attendance with an average home crowd figure of 15,702 being the highest ever since the introduction of the home and away system in 1974.[67]

Reggie the Rabbit[edit]

Reggie the Rabbit is the Rabbitohs mascot. The rabbit took lifesize form in 1968 when celebrity fan Don Lane brought back a suit from the US in time for the 1968 grand final against Manly, won by the Bunnies 13–9. Perhaps the most notable of the early Reggies was the club's groundsman Reg Fridd. Standing just over four feet tall, the Rabbitohs lured the diminutive Kiwi from a touring production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the same troupe that had yielded the second Reggie, Roscoe Bova, tragically killed in a car accident in the early 70s. Most teams in the National Rugby League maintain mascots. But none do the sort of charity work as Reggie and none dare venture to opposition grounds as he does. Yet for the current Reggie, Charlie Gallico – a sub-five footer who runs a panelbeating shop on the side – it's all part of the job. For five years little Charlie has been quietly and anonymously volunteering his services to his club and community to maintain a sideline alter-ego as one of sport's most enduring symbols. During 2000 and 2001, when Souths was excluded from the NRL, Anth Courtney was Reggie Rabbit appearing at the second Town Hall rally and at games at Redfern Oval as well as being active in travelling extensively around the state to attend fundraisers as Reggie Rabbit.[68]

South Sydney Leagues Club[edit]

The Juniors[edit]

The Juniors aka Souths Juniors

Link to the Indigenous Australian community[edit]

Souths has a long history of producing talented Indigenous players, including stars such as Eric Simms, Eric Robinson, Kevin Longbottom and, more recently, Nathan Merritt, Alex Johnston, Dylan Walker & Kyle Turner .[69] Throughout its history the club has selected young Aboriginal players from both the South Sydney district and regional New South Wales. The link to the Aboriginal community of the district goes back to the formation of the Redfern All Blacks Football Club[70][71] in 1930.[72] Indigenous players in the 2014 Souths squad include Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Alex Johnston, Dylan Walker, Kyle turner, Beau Champion & Chris Grevsmuhl

Rivalries[edit]

The Rabbitohs and their fans have built up rivalries with other clubs, particularly the Sydney Roosters (Eastern Suburbs), the only other remaining foundation club.[73] The Rabbitohs and the Roosters share inner-Sydney territory, resulting in a strong rivalry since 1908 when Souths beat Eastern Suburbs in the first grand final 14–12. Games between the neighbouring foundation clubs have since formed part of the oldest "local derby" in the competition.[74] The rivalry increased after 1950 due to conflict between junior territories and since the 1970s escalated once more as both clubs drew key players away from each other (Souths lost internationals Ron Coote, Elwyn Walters and Jim Morgan to the Roosters from their last era of premiership winning teams, whilst more recently Souths lured key forwards Bryan Fletcher and Peter Cusack away from the Roosters 2002 premiership winning side). In Round 1, 2010, the Rabbitohs and Roosters became the first clubs to play 200 matches against each other. The Roosters' 36–10 victory put the ledger at 105 games won by South Sydney, 90 by the Roosters (Eastern Suburbs) and 5 drawn.[75] To celebrate their rivalry, the Rabbitohs and Roosters contest The Ron Coote Cup annually.[76]

Other long-time traditional rivals include the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, who since 1970 purchased many of Souths' star players including John O'Neill, Ray Brannighan and Ian Roberts.[77] and former clubs the St George Dragons (resulting in the annual Charity Shield match) and Balmain Tigers. The rivalry with Balmain began in 1909 when the Tigers failed to appear for the grand final and thereby forfeited to Souths.[6][9] In the 1969 NSWRFL season enmity was again fueled between the clubs with Balmain's controversial[78] victory against the Rabbitohs in the grand final that year.[79]

A book, The Book of Feuds, chronicling the rivalries of the Rabbitohs with their NRL competitors was written by Mark Courtney at the instigation of Russell Crowe. It has been used as a motivational tool before Souths matches and was later released on sale to the public.[80]

Statistics and records[edit]

For more details on this topic, see List of South Sydney Rabbitohs records.

South Sydney are the most successful club in terms of honours and individual player achievements in the history of Australian rugby league.

The club achievements include:

  • The Rabbitohs have won the most first grade premierships (21) during the history of elite rugby league competition in Australia.[81]
  • Souths have also won the most reserve grade[82] premierships (20).
  • The club has the distinction of scoring the most points (42), most tries (8) and most goals (9) in a grand final, all achieved against Manly in 1951.[12]
  • Souths' 1925 first grade side is one of six New South Wales sides to ever go through a season undefeated.[10] The club won the premiership in all three grades in 1925, a feat only repeated on three other occasions (Balmain Tigers in 1915 and 1916 and St George Dragons in 1963).
  • In 2008, the Rabbitohs equalled the second biggest comeback in Australian Rugby League history. After being down 28–4 after 53 minutes against the North Queensland Cowboys, the Rabbitohs won the match 29–28.
  • In 2014, the Rabbitohs entered their first Grand Final in 43 years, defeating the Sydney Roosters 32-22 on 26 September 2014 in the Grand Final Qualifier.
  • In 2014, the Rabbitohs won their first Grand Final and premership in 43 years, defeating the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 30-6 on 5 October 2014.

The club's players have also achieved some notable individual game and point scoring milestones:

  • John Sutton holds the record for the most first grade games for the club, having played 229 matches since 2004.[83] Nathan Merritt, Bob McCarthy, Craig Coleman and Eric Simms are the only other players to have played over 200 matches, having taken to the field in 219, 211, 208 and 206 games respectively.[83]
  • Jack Rayner holds the individual record of the most grand final successes as a captain (5) and coach (5) achieved between 1950 and 1955.
  • Eric Simms holds the club record for the most points, tallying 1841 points between 1965 and 1975.[83]
  • Eric Simms scored 265 points on his own for South Sydney in 1969 and this tally along with ones achieved in 1970 and 1967 remain unsurpassed by any other player at the club.[83] The 1969 tally was once a league record, and has since been broken by a number of players at other clubs.
  • Eric Simms still holds a club and competition record for the most number of goals (112 goals and 19 field goals) in a season, most career field goals (86) and most field goals in a game (5).
  • Nathan Merritt broke Benny Wearing's record for the most number of tries scored (144) by an individual while playing for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, whilst scoring his 145th try against Penrith at Centrebet Stadium on the 11 April 2014. Merritt is Souths highest ever try scorer with 146 tries between 2002 and 2014.
  • Nathan Merritt equaled the South Sydney club record of 5 tries in a match against Parramatta at ANZ Stadium in a 56-6 win, joining greats such as Harold Horder, Johnny Graves and Ian Moir.
  • Johnny Graves' tally of 29 points in a match against Eastern Suburbs in 1952[83] remains the club record for the most individual points in a match. Had this feat been scored as it is today it would have stood at 32 points.
  • Les Brennan's 29 tries in 19 games in 1954 remains a club record,[83] having broken Johnny Graves' tally of 28 in 17 games set just three years earlier.
  • During his career Bob McCarthy scored 100 tries for the club, the most by a forward.[83]
  • During game 2 in the 2012 finals series Adam Reynolds became the second player in Souths history to score 200 points in one season after Eric Simms.

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

South Sydney Rabbitohs Squad 2015
First team squad Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • Kurt Wrigley (assistant)
  • Wayne Collins (assistant)
  • Troy Thomson (high performance manager)
  • Sean Edwards (strength and conditioning)

Legend:
  • (c) Captain
  • (vc) Vice captain
  • (gk) Goal kicker
  • Cruz Roja.svg Injured

Updated: 1 October 2014
Source(s): Rabbitohs Squad 2014

Notable players[edit]

For more details on this topic, see South Sydney Rabbitohs players.
No. Position Player
1 Australia FB Clive Churchill
2 Australia WG Harold Horder
3 Australia CE Herb Gilbert
4 Australia CE Paul Sait
5 Australia WG Ian Moir
6 Australia FE Jim Lisle
7 Australia HB Bob Grant
8 Australia PR John Sattler (c)
9 Australia HK Elwyn Walters
No. Position Player
10 Australia PR John O'Neill
11 Australia SR George Treweek
12 Australia SR Bob McCarthy
13 Australia LK Ron Coote
14 Australia RE Greg Hawick
15 Australia RE Ray Branighan
16 Australia RE Ian Roberts
17 Australia RE Les Cowie
Australia CO Jack Rayner (coach)

In 2002 on the Rabbitohs readmission to the competition, The Magnificent XIII,[84] a team consisting of great South Sydney players over the years was selected by a panel of rugby league journalists and former Souths players and coaches. The team consists of 17 players (four being reserves) and a coach representing the South Sydney Rabbitohs Football Club from 1908 through to 2002.

No. Position Player
1 Australia FB Clive Churchill (c)
2 Australia WG Harold Horder
3 Australia CE Ray Branighan
4 Australia CE Paul Sait
5 Australia WG Ian Moir
6 Australia FE Alf Blair
7 Australia HB Bob Grant
8 Australia PR John Sattler
9 Australia HK George Piggins
No. Position Player
10 Australia PR John O'Neill
11 Australia SR Jack Rayner
12 Australia SR Bob McCarthy
13 Australia LK Ron Coote
14 Australia RE Terry Fahey
15 Australia RE Ziggy Niszczot
16 Australia RE Elwyn Walters
17 Australia RE George Treweek
Australia CO Bernie Purcell (coach)

George Piggins Medal[edit]

The George Piggins Medal is the award given to the Rabbitohs player determined to have been the "Best and Fairest" throughout an NRL season. The inaugural winner of the award in 2003 was Bryan Fletcher. In 2013, John Sutton & Greg Inglis became the first joint winners of the award.[85]

Season Winner
2003 Bryan Fletcher
2004 Ashley Harrison
2005 Peter Cusack
2006 David Fa'alogo
2007 Roy Asotasi
2008 Luke Stuart
2009 John Sutton
2010 Isaac Luke
2011 Nathan Merritt
2012 John Sutton
2013 John Sutton & Greg Inglis
2014 Sam Burgess

Year by Year Standings[edit]

Season Ladder Position Finals Result
1908 1st Premiers
1909 1st Premiers
1910 2nd Runner-up
1911 3rd Finalist
1912 4th -
1913 3rd -
1914 1st Premiers
1915 4th -
1916 2nd Runner-up
1917 2nd -
1918 1st Premiers
1919 6th -
1920 2nd -
1921 5th -
1922 4th -
1923 2nd Runner-up
1924 2nd Runner-up
1925 1st Premiers
1926 1st Premiers
1927 1st Premiers
1928 3rd Premiers
1929 1st Premiers
1930 3rd Semi-finalists
1931 2nd Premiers
1932 1st Premiers
1933 3rd Semi-finalists
1934 4th Semi-finalists
1935 2nd Runner-up
1936 7th -
1937 2nd -
1938 2nd Semi-finalists
1939 4th Runner-up
1940 6th -
1941 7th -
1942 5th -
1943 5th -
1944 4th Semi-finalists
1945 8th Wooden Spoon
1946 8th Wooden Spoon
1947 7th -
1948 7th -
1949 1st Runner-up
1950 1st Premiers
1951 1st Premiers
1952 3rd Runner-up
1953 1st Premiers
1954 2nd Premiers
1955 4th Premiers
1956 3rd Preliminary Finalists
1957 3rd Preliminary Finalists
1958 8th -
1959 6th -
1960 8th -
1961 7th -
1962 10th Wooden Spoon
1963 9th -
1964 5th -
1965 4th Runner-up
1966 6th -
1967 2nd Premiers
1968 1st Premiers
1969 1st Runner-up
1970 1st Premiers
1971 2nd Premiers
1972 4th Semi-finalists
1973 7th -
1974 5th Qualifying Finalists
1975 12th Wooden Spoon
1976 10th -
1977 11th -
1978 7th -
1979 9th -
1980 5th Qualifying Finalists
1981 9th -
1982 6th -
1983 8th -
1984 5th Semi-finalists
1985 9th -
1986 2nd Semi-finalists
1987 5th Semi-finalists
1988 8th -
1989 1st Preliminary Finalists
1990 16th Wooden Spoon
1991 14th -
1992 14th -
1993 14th -
1994 9th -
1995 18th -
1996 19th -
1997 11th -
1998 18th -
1999 12th -
2000 Excluded from competition
2001
2002 14th -
2003 15th Wooden Spoon
2004 15th Wooden Spoon
2005 13th -
2006 15th Wooden Spoon
2007 7th Qualifying Finalists
2008 14th -
2009 10th -
2010 9th -
2011 10th -
2012 3rd Preliminary Finalists
2013 2nd Preliminary Finalists
2014 3rd Premiers

Honours[edit]

For more details on this topic, see South Sydney Rabbitohs competition honours.
1908, 1909, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 2014
  • Premiership runners-up: 13
1910, 1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1949, 1952, 1965, 1969
1908, 1909, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929, 1932, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1989
1932, 1933, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1989
2010
2010
1912, 1919, 1921, 1924, 1925
  • Pre-Season Cup titles: 4
1966, 1969, 1972, 1978
1981
  • Tooheys Challenge: 1
1994
1988
  • Sports Ground Cup: 2
1914, 1915
  • League Cup: 5
1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1922
1984, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014
1913, 1914, 1917, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1943, 1945, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1966, 1968, 1983
  • Third Grade: 10
1912, 1918, 1925, 1928, 1933, 1962, 1969, 1981, 1986, 1989
1962, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1978

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Heards, Ian (4 October 2014). "Longest march back to the top for the Pride of the League". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Ritchie, Dean (26 September 2013). "History of success from Manly Sea Eagles gives them claims to South Sydney's pride of the league tag". The Daily Telegraph (News Ltd). Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "Contact Us". South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  4. ^ In Australia, a foundation club is one that played in the first season of a competition. South Sydney played in the first season of the New South Wales Rugby League premiership, the predecessor to the National Rugby League competition.
  5. ^ a b Dean Ritchie (24 October 2014). "Peter Holmes a Court reveals his reasons for selling his South Sydney stake, while James Packer plans for a big future". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW). Retrieved 31 October 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d Fagan, Sean. "South Sydney Rabbitohs". RL1908.com. Retrieved 3 June 2007. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b c d e f Ian Heads, South Sydney, Pride of the League, Lothian, 2000.
  8. ^ Season 1908 from the Rugby League Tables & Statistics website.
  9. ^ a b "The Balmainiacs of 1909"[dead link] RL1908.com by Sean Fagan.
  10. ^ a b Season 1925 from the Rugby League Tables & Statistics website.
  11. ^ In 1925 rugby league journalist Claude Corbett nicknamed the club the "Pride of the League" – see page 3 of Ian Heads' book South Sydney, Pride of the League, Lothian, 2000. On the internet Souths are referred to as the Pride of the League on the Sydney Olympic Park website: Sydney Olympic Park.[dead link] Reference is also made in the official history of the South Sydney Rugby League Football Club by Tom Brock titled South Sydney, Pride of the League, published in 1994. This is mentioned in Mr Brocks' biography: Tom Brock Biography at the Australian Society for Sports History website.
  12. ^ a b Season 1951 from the Rugby League Tables & Statistics website.
  13. ^ See the 1955 season summary (select the year 1955 from the dropdown box at the top of the page and then click the Search button) from the official South Sydney website.
  14. ^ See the article 10 of the Best – 1955: The Miracle of '55 by Glenn Jackson in Souths The People's Team, edited by Angus Fontaine, League Week, ACP Publishing, 2002.
  15. ^ "Record Crowds". Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  16. ^ Season 1965 from the Rugby League Tables & Statistics website.
  17. ^ See the chapter Premiers No More in Mark Courtney's Moving the Goalposts, Halstead Press, 2000.
  18. ^ 1970 Grand Final, Souths v Manly from the History of Australian Rugby League reproduced on the Era of the Biff website.
  19. ^ A full description of the famous incident is in the article 10 of the Best – 1970: The Jawdropper by Glenn Jackson in Souths The People's Team, edited by Angus Fontaine, League Week, ACP Publishing, 2002.
  20. ^ See reference to John Bucknall from the Soaring Sea Eagles website players page.
  21. ^ Reference to Jack Gibson as a "Super Coach" is common terminology in Australian rugby league circles given Gibson's outstanding coaching record – see: "Super coach Gibson salutes his favourite players". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 14 August 2003. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  22. ^ See the article 10 of the Best – 1981: The Droughtbreaker by Glenn Jackson in Souths The People's Team, edited by Angus Fontaine, League Week, ACP Publishing, 2002.
  23. ^ The St George Dragons and Illawarra Steelers merged into the St George Illawarra Dragons in 1998, the Balmain Tigers and Western Suburbs Magpies merged to form the Wests Tigers in 1999 whilst also in the same year the Manly Sea Eagles and North Sydney Bears (who were excluded from the competition on failing to meet solvency criteria) merged into the Northern Eagles (the merger was subsequently dissolved with Manly re-entering the competition in 2003).
  24. ^ Fridman, Saul (December 2002). "Before the High Court: sport and the law: The South Sydney appeal". Sydney Law Review 24 (4): 558–68. ISSN 0082-0512. 
  25. ^ See "Grassroots Ethics: The Case of Souths versus News Corporation", pages 216–229 of Remote Control: New Media, New Ethics by Michael Moller, edited by Catharine Lumby and Elspeth Probyn, Cambridge University Press, 2003 at Google Books
  26. ^ See South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club Ltd v News Limited FCA 862 (6 July 2001), decision of the Full Bench of the Federal Court of Australia.
  27. ^ a b See "The Souths Revival", page 150 of Strategic Sports Marketing by David Shilbury, Shayne Quick and Hans Westerbeek, Allen & Unwin, 2003 at Google Books
  28. ^ Episode 2 – What happened at the Handover Ceremony?[dead link] from the "South Sydney Story" website (www.southsydneystory.com).
  29. ^ Ryle, G. Where there's smoke, it's a job for Firepower Sydney Morning Herald, 24 February 2007
  30. ^ AAP (31 October 2008). "Richardson quits as Souths CEO". The Sydney Morning Herald (smh.com.au). Retrieved 9 September 2008. [dead link]
  31. ^ South Sydney Rabbitohs (2 February 2008). "Rabbitohs Elevate Internal Staff in Management Restructure". South Sydney Rabbitohs (rabbitohs.com.au). Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  32. ^ Phil Rothfield and Rebecca Wilson (18 May 2008). "Holmes a Court to quit Souths". The Sunday Telegraph (news.com.au). Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  33. ^ Josh Massoud (27 May 2008). "How Souths drowned in latte and largesse". The Daily Telegraph (News Ltd). Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  34. ^ Patrick Smith (28 May 2008). "A Court in the crossfire: the syndrome threatening to derail Souths". The Australian (News Corp Australia). Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  35. ^ Josh Massoud (27 May 2008). "Russell Crowe dumps Holmes a Court as Rabbitohs chairman". Courier Mail (news.com.au). Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  36. ^ Ray Chesterton (27 May 2008). "Crowe's company ruined Souths". The Daily Telegraph (news.com.au). Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  37. ^ "‘Pride of the League’ Honoured by the National Trust". South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club. 3 September 2008. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  38. ^ Justin Davies (28 April 2012). "South Sydney register 1000th win against gallant Cowboys". 
  39. ^ Trent Hile (6 September 2012). "Week one finals preview: Melbourne Storm v South Sydney Rabbitohs, second qualifying final, AAMI Park". FOX SPORTS. 
  40. ^ "Bunny". Evening News (Sydney, NSW). 14 June 1904. p. 4. 
  41. ^ See the comments of ABC radio reporter Joe O'Brien from the transcript of the ABC PM radio program "Rabbitohs continue historic form", broadcast on Friday, 6 July 2001.
  42. ^ a b "Club Histories – New Speculations"[dead link] RL1908.com by Sean Fagan.
  43. ^ South Sydney traditional jersey from the official South Sydney website.
  44. ^ See the article Having a "Mintie wrapper" in your wardrobe by Mark Courtney in Souths The People's Team, edited by Angus Fontaine, League Week, ACP Publishing, 2002.
  45. ^ South Sydney 2009 home jersey from the official South Sydney website.
  46. ^ South Sydney 2009 alternate (away) jersey from the official South Sydney website.
  47. ^ South Sydney Co-op.
  48. ^ Redfern Oval from the Rugby League Tables & Statistics website.
  49. ^ Sydney Football Stadium from the Rugby League Tables & Statistics website.
  50. ^ Greg Prichard (27 February 2005). "Rabbitohs in shock move to Homebush". The Sydney Morning Herald (smh.com.au). 
  51. ^ "Rabbitohs secure new home ground". One Sport (tvnz.co.nz). 16 March 2005. Retrieved 26 Mat 2014.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  52. ^ ABC. "Bunnies facing extinction, Crowe tells fans". ABC (abc.net.au). 
  53. ^ a b "Proposed Redfern Park Upgrade". City of Sydney. 28 July 2006. Archived from the original on 24 August 2006. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  54. ^ "Supporter Groups". South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  55. ^ The Burrow website.
  56. ^ [1]
  57. ^ Membership is of the South Sydney Members Rugby League Football Club which owns 25% of the South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club. The other 75% is owned by businessman Peter Holmes à Court and actor Russell Crowe through their company Blackcourt League Investments – see "Holmes à Court: Setting the Record Straight", by Peter Holmes à Court, from the World of Rugby League website, 15 March 2006.
  58. ^ Jackson, Glenn (20 December 2006). "Pride in the Rabbitohs jersey – and dollars, too". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  59. ^ "Mission Impossible" 23 September 1999 Australian Story archives at abc.net.au
  60. ^ Swanton, Will (5 March 2006). "Souths power bloc backs Crowe bid". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  61. ^ Walter, Brad (18 February 2006). "Souths support group enters Crowe fray". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia: Fairfax Media). Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  62. ^ Reclaiming the Game: Fandom, Community and Globalisation, by Michael Moller, from the APINetwork website.
  63. ^ In George We Trust, produced by Helen Grasswill, Australian Story transcript, 2 August 2001, from the ABC website.
  64. ^ See the chapters Reclaim the Game and Taking it to the Streets in Mark Courtney's Moving the Goalposts, Halstead Press, 2000.
  65. ^ See South's 2009 Corporate Partnership Brochure.
  66. ^ "Warne's new job: being Shane Warne". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 7 January 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  67. ^ "Rabbitohs make ANZ Stadium home for next 10 years". rleague (from a South Sydney press release). 8 Feb 2008. 
  68. ^ http://www.au.timeout.com/Sydney/the-bridge/features/1377/19-reggie-the-rabbit
  69. ^ See the article Red and Green and Black by Shayne Bugden in Souths The People's Team, edited by Angus Fontaine, League Week, ACP Publishing, 2002.
  70. ^ "Who Are The Redfern All Blacks (RAB)". Fox Sports Pulse. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  71. ^ A Club to be proud of... by Ken Brindle, Hon. Secretary Redfern All Blacks, in New Dawn, June 1970.
  72. ^ See section on "The History of the Rabbitohs and the Indigenous Community" by Ian Heads in the article Rabbitohs and NASCA Form New Alliance, from the World of Rugby League website (www.rleague.com).
  73. ^ Swanton, Will (21 August 2005). "Shove thy neighbour: Souths rule the roost". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  74. ^ Payten, Iain (15 March 2007). "Souths' bitter blast at Roosters". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  75. ^ Sign Craig Wing for Four Years from The Burrow website (www.theburrow.net.au), 25 June 2007
  76. ^ Monahan, Jeremy (10 March 2010). "The rivalry between South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters is legendary". Southern Courier (Australia: News Community Media). Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  77. ^ Key Souths players purchased by Manly included internationals John O'Neill, Ray Branighan, Elwyn Walters, Mark Carroll, Terry Hill, Jim Serdaris and Ian Roberts and other stars such as Bob Moses, Tom Mooney and Craig Field.
  78. ^ Balmain players feigned injury in order to slow down the game, disrupt Souths attacking momentum and run-down the clock to full-time – see the 1969 season summary (select the year 1969 from the dropdown box at the top of the page and then click the Search button) from the official South Sydney website.
  79. ^ "Five of the best: grand final controversies". The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 October 2004. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  80. ^ "Bitter feud to get public airing"[dead link], Adrian Proszenko, League HQ, 2 September 2007
  81. ^ List of Australian Rugby League Premiership Winners from the Sports Australia website.
  82. ^ a b Up until 2002, the second division of rugby league in New South Wales was Reserve Grade/Presidents Cup/First Division Premiers; since then, it has been the NSWRL Premier League.
  83. ^ a b c d e f g Rabbitohs Club Records from the official South Sydney Rabbitohs website.
  84. ^ See "The Magnificent XIII" in the article Hall of Fame in Souths The People's Team, edited by Angus Fontaine, League Week, ACP Publishing, 2002.
  85. ^ "Inglis and Sutton Crowned as First Joint Winners of the George Piggins Medal in 2013". South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  86. ^ Up until 1994, the top division of the premiership in New South Wales was the New South Wales Rugby League premiership; since then, it has been the Australian Rugby League (1995–1997) and the National Rugby League.

Footnotes[edit]

Works cited[edit]

External links[edit]